Monday, April 17, 2006

Lead Yourself

If you do nothing else today that helps you to become a Contagious Leader... lead youself to the greatness that you are supposed to be, enjoy, create, and benefit from. Life is about living and Playing to Win, not Playing for the purpose of not losing. Which one are you leading yourself to participate in today? Stay safe and grow stagnant; stay on the edge and take risks and you may fall, but then again you may fly.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Leadership Decisions: Fix It, Accept It, or Leave.

There is complaining and there is complacency. There is whining and there is whimsical talk about why we can’t fix others or fix our boss or fix the co-worker that you saw flying in on her broom. It all adds up to the three decisions that we each have to make and they are clear, simple, and less than easy.
The three overwhelmingly clear decisions that we always have are Fix It, Accept It, or Leave. Okay, they seem easy and they seem clear, yet I also mentioned that they might be less than easy and I would even go so far to say they are deceptively easy, yet the truth of the matter is that these are the choices we all have when faced with a situation at work, a person at work, or a scenario at work that you don’t like or feel compelled to grumble over or wish to fix when it involves another person. Contagious Leaders fix it, accept it, or leave. Now, let’s dissect these in proper form.
Have you ever tried to fix someone? Have any of you ever been married? I mean really. Isn’t there an old adage that says “You can’t fix someone unless of course, they want to be fixed?” It exists for a reason and remains true an untold number of times. In fact, situations cannot be fixed, but situations can. If you have a situation that is troubling you that you can somehow influence, control, or modify, then by all means, do so. Don’t complain about the problem, create a solution.
“Grant me the wisdom to accept the things that I cannot change…” is a line found in many sources, one of which is the Serenity Prayer often directed toward God. To whomever you might utter the saying, remember the point, those things which you cannot change, must be accepted. If you were to look up jerk in the dictionary and find the clear picture of your boss, then why do you become bothered when that person does exactly what a jerk does. Let’s look at this differently. If you saw a dog on a leash walking down the street with his owner, would you get mad at the dog for walking on the leash? Silly enough, no probably not. Isn’t this similar in that we wouldn’t get mad at something for doing exactly what it is supposed to do? So why would we get mad at someone for doing exactly what we expect them to do. Try not to complain about someone being who you say they are, try to look at them, be fascinated and accept them for what and who they are.
I have always said that if you do not like the situation, cannot fix it, and choose not to accept it, then it might be time for you to consider the option of looking at the possibilities of maybe one day contemplating the thought of looking at the option of maybe thinking about alternative chances that you may have to somehow someway someday find another job. Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I am not telling you upon completion of this article that you should print it and take it to your boss and tell him or her that you quit. That is not the message and if you believe it is then please change my name above to “Cindy” as many of you have heard me mention in seminars. What I am saying is that if fixing and accepting are not options, then leaving is your lasting choice. If you choose to stay then it is conscious choice and what you are really then complaining about is your choice or your lack of ability to make a tough decision. Keep in mind leaving could easily mean leaving the situation and does not always mean leaving a job.

Most of these have multiple interpretations and I by no means have all the answers or am vacant of thoughts around the fact that there are variations on the clarity of all three. Nonetheless, there are always these three decisions and the choice is yours. Contagious Leaders make the most of the decisions that they have.

Monday, April 3, 2006

Followers:Friends or Front Line?

You used to be their buddy and now you’re their boss. You used to willingly join them for drinks after work and now you are worrying over writing their performance reviews. When you get promoted into leadership, what happens to those friendships that you used to have with your colleagues? Some organizations will tell you that friendship is impossible, even prohibited. Contagious Leaders can and should be friends with those they lead; it is merely the definition of “friends” that we may benefit from clarifying.
Contagious Leadership was written in part because of the frequent occasions sited in Corporate America in which a person was seen to be a “great widget maker” and so a manager said “Oh wow you would make a great widget maker manager!” and proceeded to promote this front line person. Let’s reserve conversation about the fact that these two positions vary widely in skill sets, as well as, skill in one does not correlate to skill in another, for another newsletter and focus simply on what this does to the person who becomes the new manager.
If you were my friend one day and then not my friend the next, I might begin to think “you believed you were too good to talk to me” unless of course, you talked to me first. Yet, how many new managers feel comfortable having that conversation or have TIME to have it while learning the new job in a baptism by fire modality.
Let’s face it; a new promotion is not always easy on the friend circle unless you have one supportive group of friends. What is more often the case is a series of resentments, “I should’ve gotten that job”, backbiting, or even sabotage, so here’s what you do. When you are promoted to a new leadership position:
• Ask your promoting leader when you can tell the team the news
• Ask permission to alert them before the news goes public
• Openly discuss what is going on, when it will be effective and what will change; address the issues of negativity
• Save your expectations and new directions for meeting number two and give them a chance to get adjusted to the new information.
• Try to hold this meeting on a Friday, or end of shift, so that those with issues have a chance to think on it for a couple of days.
• Let them know the company’s policy on being friends and how you are planning to handle any friendship changes that may occur.

Realize for yourself that this is a process and that some will respond better than others. Realize also that if you abandon those that you used to be friends with that are now reporting to you and still remaining members of the front line that you may face more problems than a leader hired in from the outside with no history. You can do it. You can have it all if you employ mutual courtesy, respect, and professionalism.
The people Contagious Leaders lead are in fact, just that, PEOPLE and if you treat them as such, you may have a gift for appreciating where they are and what they experience, far more than someone who hasn’t “been there, done that”. That could work in your favor and help you to build one phenomenal team of productive followers who enjoy working with you. Followers are not limited to being friends OR front line and can be both.